Tequila is one of the fastest-growing spirits in the U.S., with America consuming even more than they do in its homeland of Mexico. The biggest growth is in the premium and super-premium categories, as drinkers discover the pleasure of sipping rather than slamming good tequila. Tequila is in fact a type of mezcal, but one that has a specific “domain of origin” status and which must be made from a single species of agave, the blue agave. Tequila must be made in certain designated areas in Mexico, the biggest being the state of Jalisco, where the town of Tequila is located. Rack “tequila” must contain at least 51% blue agave sugars, and the remainder can be just about anything, including corn syrup. However, quality tequila will state on the bottle that it is made from 100% blue agave. Anything less than this (think Cuervo Gold) is called a mixto. Within Mexico, tequila can be bottled at anything from 62 to 110 proof, but within the U.S. it must be at least 80 proof. Blanco (silver or white) tequila is sold unaged, reposado tequila must be aged at least two months in white oak barrels, and añejo (aged) tequila are aged for twelve months minimum. Finally, extra añejo must be aged for at least three years. A new variety of tequila, generally called cristalino, is aged tequila that has been filtered to remove color, giving it the appearance of a blanco but the flavor of an añejo.

Top Tequila Posts:

Understanding the Different Styles of Tequila
A Visit to Casa Herradura
A Visit to the Don Julio Tequila Distillery

Review: Madre Mezcal Espadin y Cuishe

By Christopher Null | September 5, 2021 |

Made with espadin and madrecuishe (aka cuishe) agave, Madre Mezcal was formerly billed as an ensamble, but now carries the identities of both of its primary agave varieties on its label. The Oaxaca-made product shows promise right away. Initially rather sweet on the nose, with notes of overripe fruit, it finds balance in its smoky…

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Review: Dos Primos Tequila Blanco

By Christopher Null | August 5, 2021 |

Fancy paint-accented bottle with a leather-wrapped neck, fabric label with signatures attached, a promise of “100% slow roasted Weber blue agave grown right in the heart of tequila country” … that, alas, is about all we know about Dos Primos Tequila, a new spirit which is clearly swinging for the fences — but which is…

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Review: Pluma Negra Mezcal, Complete Lineup

By Christopher Null | August 2, 2021 |

Pluma Negra is a new mezcal brand out of Oaxaca’s San Juan del Rio, where the Hernandez family has been producing mezcal for 45 years. Maestro Mezcalero Rodolfo Hernandez is “a third generation Mezcalero who uses time honored traditions to create Pluma Negra — animal drawn tahona to crush the maguey, pine barrel fermentation, and double…

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Review: Rock N Roll Tequila – Complete Lineup (2021)

By Christopher Null | July 31, 2021 |

Back in 2017 we reviewed two bottlings from Rock N Roll Tequila, distinguished by its extremely heavy bottles shaped like electric guitars. Three expressions are offered: a standard blanco, a cristalino, and a mango-flavored liqueur. Since that time, the brand has changed ownership, though the same distillery, operated by Master Distiller Jose Aceves, is still…

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Cutwater Mezcal

Review: Cutwater Mezcal

By Mike Gerrard | June 26, 2021 |

Cutwater is an unusual company. We’ve favorably reviewed some of their whiskey products, and (along with everyone else in the spirits world) they recently brought out some canned cocktails, which were fairly well-received. Despite the fact that they’re based in San Diego, and do distil their own spirits, they’ve also released a tequila and now…

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Review: Tequila Lobos 1707 Reposado

By Christopher Null | June 24, 2021 |

I will ignore the fact that this bottle looks like a canister of kerosene. And why shouldn’t I? This utterly unique tequila (which is backed by LeBron James) is rested for six months in American oak barrels, then blended with “a touch” of Lobos 1707 extra anejo tequila before being finished in Pedro Ximénez wine…

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Review: Milagro Tequila Select Barrel Reserve, Complete Lineup (2021)

By Robert Lublin | June 15, 2021 |

It’s been five years since we last reviewed Milagro’s Select Barrel Reserve Tequilas, and there are good reasons for taking a fresh look. Most notably, Milagro has lowered the prices for all three of its higher end tequilas. We took issue with the price in the past and it’s nice to find them more in…

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Review: Cazadores Tequila Anejo Cristalino

By Christopher Null | June 15, 2021 |

The budget tequila brand Cazadores is not one we’d normally peg as releasing a cristalino (aka filtered anejo) bottling, but here we are all the same. This cristalino is aged for two years in barrel before being filtered back to clear. Naturally, this bottling also comes at a reasonable price. Let’s give it a whirl.…

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Review: 21 Seeds Valencia Orange Tequila

By Christopher Null | June 9, 2021 |

21 Seeds is a new brand of flavored tequila made with all-natural fruit infusions. Available in three flavors to start — Valencia Orange, Grapefruit Hibiscus, and Cucumber Jalapeño — the tequila is “cultivated from a proprietary blend of agaves from the lowland and highland regions of Jalisco” and bottled without the addition of high fructose…

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Review: One With Life Tequila – Blanco and Extra Anejo

By Christopher Null | June 7, 2021 |

One With Life is a new organic (and kosher) tequila made from 100% Blue Weber Agave at Tequila Las Americas in the heart of Jalisco. Agaves are roasted in brick ovens and fermented with wild yeast, and the distillate is twice-distilled before hand bottling. Unusually, One With Life is available in two expressions: a blanco…

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